to comprehend better the Court life, I offer you a schedule of Louis XIV’s ordinary day. And here I should notice that His Majesty had an extraordinary patience to follow it during all his 54 years of reigning.
8:00 Petit Lever (First getting up) – the First Valet wakes the King up, the First Surgeon & doctors examine him, then members of the Royal family & Princes enter the Appartements. They are followed by Officers of the Crown, the Chambellan & the Grand Maitre of wardrobe. The King washes his hands with some wine or essential antibacterial oil, has some Holy Water, puts his morning outfits. The Grand Barbier shaves him.
8:30 Grand Level (Second getting up) – The King prepares himself, gets dressed assisted by Princes du sang, accepts only very close people from his milieu. This is a very privileged time. Every courtiers dreamed to get a chance to be among invited ones.
9:00 First breakfast – some herbal tea or a vegetable soup.
9:30 The Minister Council – general daily instructions & affairs. Then the King changes for the Mass.
10:00 -11:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.
11:00 – 13:00 – The Royal Council of Louis XIV: Monday-Friday the Highest Council (State affairs) or the Depeche Council; then if Tuesday, Saturday – the Financial Council, then if Friday – the Religious Council; Audiences.
13:00 – Petit Couvert – a personal luncheon, often accompanied by his brother Monsieur only. Then bath, changing for going out.
14:00 – hunting or promenade in the gardens if the weather is fine. If not, a visit to the Court ladies, trips to Trianon or Marly.
16:00-17:00 Petit Collation – a snack in ladies’ company. Bath changing for the Mass.
17:00-18:00 – The Mass accompanied with Lully’s music.
18:00-19:00 – Work with documents.
19:00 – The King returns to his Appartements. It’s time for some fun (billiard, card games, dancing).
about 22:00 – Grand Couvert – a big supper for all, a ball, etc. After the meal His Majesty goes to his cabinet to talk with closest members of the family or friends.
23:30 Coucher (bedtime) – according to the accepted rules at the Court.
So, as you might notice, Esteemed Readers, Courtiers were very limited in attracting the Royal attention & were very restricted to keep it. Amazingly, Louis’s system was so effective that even most rebellious spirits were calmed down. It does not mean that there were no intrigues at the Court. They were, for sure. However, they were too far from the policy, as His Majesty kept his own courtiers away of his political affairs.
The etiquette rules accepted at Louis XIV’s Court were were rigid as well & most people simply had no time to think about plots if they desired to become good Royal servants. They mind were always occupied with fashion, latest artistic trends, poetry, etc. But when it was the war-time, each courtier knew to be a great worrier & fulfilled his oath to serve his King until the end whatever it was.
Vive le Roy! 🙂